They broke the mold when they made Bill Marvel. There have been few individuals who achieved as much in as many different realms in their lives and did so with as much passion and dedication from start to finish than did Bill Marvel, who passed away at the age of 90 years old on Sunday evening, December 20,2020 in his home in Liberty KY.
He was the husband of Emily (McAnelly ) Marvel for 26 years.
From the day of his birth to his last breath, Marvel was one of a kind. With an abundance of energy and enthusiasm, his contributions to the sports world and the subsequent impact he's made on others, are the kind of which that will be forever admired.
Born on June 21, 1930 in South Bend Indiana to the late Clarence and Wilna (Pierce) Marvel. Soon after his family relocated to Indianapolis Indiana where he lived most of his life before moving to Liberty Ky in 1999. As a child he loved playing with his toy racecars for hours at a time in the alley of his Westside home. He was always an energetic little boy, who would stand in his chair at the dinner table. One day his sister and parents stood on their chairs too. Bill had a great since of fun which as you can see inherited from his mom and dad. He roller skated at Riverside Par as a teenager and loved the Big Band Era music and dancing! He was lovingly called by many as “Grandpa Fudge” because of his special Christmas recipe and distributions of homemade fudge to family and friends.
He graduated from Broad Ripple High School in 1948 where he played football then set forth on serving his country as a United States Marine between 1948 –1955 with active-duty for 3 years during the Korean War. Following his honorable discharge from the military, Marvel set forth on a 60-plus year journey in management, public relations, editing, publishing (magazine and newspaper), radio, public address, television announcing, retail sales, marketing and sales. Marvel was the News Liaison Officer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway between 1953 and 1967 and was an Off-Track Coordinator for major accessory companies.
He attended his first Indianapolis 500 Mile race in 1941 and never missed one during the remainder of his life including 2020 (which was not open to the general public). Anyone who knew Bill knew that auto racing and specifically the Indianapolis 500 was in his blood.
Bill received many accolades in his lifetime for his hard work and achievements within the racing community including the Tom Carnegie Legacy Award from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Club, Angelo Angelopoulos Memorial Award by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcaster Association, the “Unsung Heroes” Award presented by Andy Granatelli at the Indy 500, both the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Hall of Fame and the National Association of Auto Racing Fans Awards, The Louis Meyer Indianapolis Oldtimers Award in appreciation of his years of service to automobile racing, Roger McCluskey Award of Excellence, and the Bob Russo Founders Award.
Bill was married to Bernice Stratton for 26 years and together they raised four children.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister Mary Jane Hays, by Bernice Stratton Marvel, son William Robert Jr. and great granddaughter Ashley Marvel.
He is survived by his wife Emily McAnelly Marvel, son Bradley Jay (Ma Ria) of Pittsboro Indiana, Beth Ann (Edward “Buz”) Lewis of Brownsburg Indiana, and Brady James of (Naples Florida). Other survivors include Jamie (Jason) Free, William Robert Marvel III, Justin (Kelly) Marvel, Stacie (Trevor) Behrens, Jennifer (Anthony) Muzzillo, Katie (Matt) Walsh, Sarah (Jared) Catron, Wesley Marvel and Ryan Marvel. He was always eager to brag of his 11 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren (another on the way), and 2 Great-Great Grandchildren.
He was diligent about keeping a birthday list and distributing it to all his family members instructing them to send birthday cards. He would jokingly complain he would have to redo the list after another grandchild was born.
His family meant everything to him and the list of awards and achievements is very impressive but does not compare to his ultimate achievement, that being his eagerness in showing and expressing his love for God and Jesus Christ. Christ and his family meant everything to him, now he is celebrating Christmas 2020 in the presence of Jesus.
Services will be held in Liberty KY at the Bartle Funeral Home Chapel on Saturday, December 26th at 11 AM with visitation at 10 AM followed by a service at 11AM officiated by Rev. Bobby Tackett-Evans.
A second service will be for immediate family only at the Macedonia Baptist Church in Brownsburg Indiana.
Arrangements are handled by the Bartle Funeral Home in Liberty and Conkle Funeral Home in Speedway Indiana.
Burial will be in the Macedonia Cemetery in Brownsburg Indiana just a stone's throw away from where his family settled in 1880.
A Celebration of Life service will be held for all friends and family in Indianapolis at a later date to be announced.
Memorial contributions can be made to the USAC Benevolent Foundation, 124 E. Northfield Drive, Ste. F #129, Brownsburg, IN 46112.